2023 Annual Meeting
2023 Annual Meeting
RIDGELAND, SC – 4,563 members registered and voted at Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s 2023 Annual Meeting.
Drive-thru registration and voting was held May 4 and 5 at the co-op’s Ridgeland office. Members were able to drive-thru, register and cast a vote for the Board of Directors election. Palmetto Electric employees were on hand to distribute registration gifts and assist members with any questions.
In-person voting and registration, as well as the traditional flea market, auction, entertainment, children’s activities and concessions were available on Saturday, May 6.
“I want to sincerely thank the 4,563 members who made the 2023 Annual Meeting a success,” said Berl Davis, Palmetto Electric president and CEO.
“Enhancing our community through growth initiatives” was the resounding theme of this year’s meeting and focused on the cooperative’s support of growth in economic development, education initiatives, residential housing and more. The business meeting, held in-person on Saturday afternoon, highlighted some of the ways Palmetto Electric Cooperative supported growth in our community this past year.
One of the cooperative’s biggest community growth projects this past year is the collaborative work they did with the Technical College of the Lowcountry and local government organizations to launch the Culinary Institute of the South. Because of the Culinary Institute of the South, we now have the capability to train and retain hospitality and restaurant employees in our local area. The college graciously acknowledged the cooperative’s assistance by naming the lobby, the Palmetto Electric Trust lobby.
Palmetto Electric continues to invest in education through annual programs like Bright Ideas, EnLIGHTenSC, Washington Youth Tour and Cooperative Youth Summit. Last year, in our three counties, Palmetto Electric gave $44,133 in Bright Ideas grants to 49 teachers. A group of 5th grade students from Hilton Head Island Elementary won the local EnLightenSC Children’s Book Challenge and a total of 5 high school students attended the 2022 Washington Youth Tour and the Cooperative Youth Summit.
In 2022, a new law passed by the South Carolina General Assembly allowed Palmetto Electric Cooperative to give a grant of $600,000 to Hampton County to buy land for future economic development projects through Utility Tax Credits. These projects will include developing industrial sites so new companies can move into the area. They also continued to expand the availability of high-speed broadband internet access, through PalmettoLink, to rural Jasper and Hampton County residents. The cooperative worked with developers this past year to encourage them to build energy efficient homes and utilize Palmetto Electric’s load management programs.
Despite inflation and supply chain issues, Palmetto Electric continued to show its commitment to its members. Palmetto returned $4 million in Capital Credits and has not raised its rates since 2014. The cooperative scored an 89 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey (ACSI). This is the seventh year in a row that the cooperative has scored 89 or higher. The average Touchstone Energy cooperative received a score of 73. The Cooperative’s outage time per customer was only 29 minutes. This is the lowest on record and puts Palmetto in the 95 percentile of all cooperatives that it benchmarks.
Local high school students, Olivia Besecker (May River High School), Garrett Simons (Hilton Head Island High School) and Bryan Ruiz (Hilton Head Island High School) were recognized for being chosen to represent Palmetto Electric on the Washington Youth Tour. Alex Rosier (Wade Hampton High School), Colin Owen (Heritage Academy) Bella Johnson (Hilton Head Preparatory School) and Jack Keller (ECSC Representative, Hilton Head Island High School) will attend the Cooperative Youth Summit. Aiden Wallace (Bluffton High School) was the recipient of the $1,000 Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE) Scholarship.
Board of Directors incumbents Carolyn Grant (Beaufort County, Position 6), Gregory S. Cook (Hampton County, Position 3) and Dr. Earl Bostick Sr. (Jasper County, Position 3) all ran unopposed and were re-elected. Thomas G. Stanley Jr. was elected to fill the Jasper County, Position 1 seat vacated by Eunice Spilliards in 2023. David C. Howard defeated incumbent, C. Alex Ulmer, for the Beaufort County, Position 3 seat. Board officers elected included Jeremiah E. Vaigneur, chairman; D. Terrell Smith, vice-chairman; and Carolyn Grant, secretary-treasurer.
This year’s grand prize winner was Timothy Bass of Early Branch. He won the 2013 Ford Explorer.
$100 Ace Hardware Gift Card: Dominick Rivera, Bluffton
$100 Ace Hardware Gift Card: James Dwareskas, Hilton Head
$100 Walmart Gift Card: Dianne Farrell, Bluffton
$100 Walmart Gift Card: John Mingledorff, Ridgeland
$100 Visa Gift Card (from CEEUS): Donna Maria Chaplin, Hilton Head
EGO Power+ Electric Lawn Mower: Mitchell Cooperman, Okatie
YETI Fully-Loaded Bucket: Mary Jane Rubenstein, Bluffton
Solo Bonfire & Stand: Mamie Brown, Tillman
Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer: Annette Taylor, Estill
Ooni Pizza Oven: Susan Stemming, Hilton Head Island
ICECO Portable Electric Cooler: Steven Malphrus, Ridgeland
Ride1Up Electric Bike: Hezekiah Singleton, Ridgeland
Grand Prize 2013 Ford Explorer: Timothy Bass, Early Branch